The Los Angeles Lakers hung around on the road against the Indiana Pacers but couldn’t survive Paul George’s knockout blows in a 115-108 loss. George scored the Pacers’ final 12 points, hitting tough baskets over the Lakers’ defenders before slamming the door shut at the free-throw line. The Lakers once again found themselves fighting valiantly in a loss.
The flow of the game was immediately disrupted as the shot clock malfunctioned through the first quarter. The game went on by use of an actual stopwatch, but the clocks eventually went back on with around five minutes left in the first quarter. The delays were immense, but eventually the game started moving again.
Momentum never swung the Lakers’ way as they lost the lead in the opening minutes and didn’t find themselves ahead again until late in the fourth quarter. D’Angelo Russell’s strong third quarter helped turn things around for a Lakers team struggling to find any flow to their game, bringing LA back into a game that was slipping away. Russell scored seven points and dished two dimes in the third quarter while initiating the offense out of pick-and-roll sets.
The only quarter the Lakers beat Indiana in was the third, where Russell led all scorers. He struggled outside of the third, however, scoring just 11 points with 3 assists through the entire game. His strong shooting from a handful of great preseason outings has yet to fully manifest itself since games started counting. Lou Williams scored a team-high 19 points off the bench, with Jordan Clarkson adding another 15.
George was too much to overcome down the stretch as he put the finishing touches on a 35-point outing, good for a Pacers victory. The Lakers once again played hard in a game they shouldn’t have been within striking distance of, which looks to be a consistent theme early on. The young legs of the Lakers will be put to the test with their first back-to-back of the season ending in Atlanta on Wednesday.